Academic studies show that small and medium-sized towns are not inevitably disqualified by the processes of metropolisation and growth of big cities, but on the contrary tend to attract or to keep inhabitants and activities, to create jobs (in a difficult context of post-industrial economy) and to remain competitive, in different ways depending on highly contrasted trends and situations.
Analysis conducted by spatial planners, economists, geographers or historians can propose a global approach of changes in small and medium towns and lead to understand the kind of relationships they have with their surrounding territories, being rural or urban and the stakes local stakeholders have to tackle to implement development policies.
The discussions focus on four different aspects of small and medium-sized towns:
- Definition of attractiveness: multidisciplinary, comparative and diachronic approaches
- Issues of quality of life and residential attractiveness
- Functional changes: innovation and competitiveness
- The place of small towns in mobility and systems of flows.
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